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Lowestoft firm axes 27 jobs

PUBLISHED: 18:35 14 May 2009 | UPDATED: 09:32 06 July 2010

WORKERS at a marine survey company in Lowestoft have been made redundant after problems caused by a delayed contract and the wider economic downturn.

Twenty-seven of the 50 staff at Utec Survey, based on the banks of Lake Lothing, were made redundant on Tuesday.

WORKERS at a marine survey company in Lowestoft have been made redundant after problems caused by a delayed contract and the wider economic downturn.

Twenty-seven of the 50 staff at Utec Survey, based on the banks of Lake Lothing, were made redundant on Tuesday.

The company, which carries out surveys of the seabed and lays cables for the oil and gas industry, is registered in Aberdeen and employed a total of 110 people - 60 working on vessels at sea and the other 50 based in Lowestoft. A total of 70 staff have been made redundant across the bases.

Administrators were called in to Utec Survey on Monday after the company had recently encountered problems on a significant contract, which led to delays and over-running costs.

The company has also been involved in a costly legal wrangle with a competitor and these factors, coupled with a major downturn in exploration work in the oil and gas sectors in the North Sea, led the company's bankers to withdraw their support.

As well as a base at the Brooke Business Park, in Heath Road, Lowestoft, Utec Survey operates support and survey vessels and has bases in Aberdeen, the US, Canada, Ghana and Singapore.

A boat owned by the company with a survey crew on board is continuing survey operations in the Mediterranean Sea, while the administrator is in discussions with the client to whom the company is contracted.

The remaining 23 staff at the Lowestoft base are continuing to provide support functions for the vessel and are carrying on work on a number of outstanding survey projects.

The company's most recent annual records, published in December 2008, show that while the business is officially based in Aberdeen, the two directors are based in Houston, Texas.

Andrew Turner, an insolvency partner at Lovewell Blake in Lowestoft, said: “It has been a difficult week for the employees of the company. The loss of jobs is regrettable, but unfortunately unavoidable. Not only will the loss of jobs have an impact on the town but there are a number of local creditors that will be affected by the company going into administration.

“All amounts owed to creditors at the date of the appointment of the administrator will be dealt with through the administration process and it is too early at this stage to establish how much creditors are likely to receive once the administrator has completed his work.

“All creditors will receive formal notification from Ritson Smith of the appointment of the administrator in the next couple of days.”

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